Tag Archives: Cass County

Cost Share

MAEAP Introduces Cost Share and On the Go Testing Program

The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) has introduced a cost sharing program for each county conservation district’s MAEAP program throughout the state. The Cass County Conservation District MAEAP program has received $3,000 dollars to assist farms throughout the county in achieving MAEAP verification. The MAEAP program consists of four separate systems: Farmstead, Cropping, Livestock, and Forest, Wetland, and Habitat. Upon accomplishing verification in each, or all relevant systems pertaining to each specific farm, the farms receive legal Right to Farm Protections, points for restricted use pesticide licenses, a small reduction in insurance fees through Farm Bureau, community recognition, and several other benefits.

If you farm in Cass County, we hope you are interested in verification of one or more of these systems.  In pursuing each verification, farms must have completed several steps. For example, basic soil and water tests must be completed, spill kits must be easily accessible, and specific standards set in place by the MAEAP program must be met (such as having a fuel transfer pad where equipment is filled.) Knowing there are only 24 hours in the day and a dollar can only go so far, we understand these tasks can be time consuming and costly. MAEAP is designed to be a program that benefits the environment and the farm. To minimize your steps towards getting MAEAP verified and add convenience to your day, MAEAP has introduced a cost share program to cover basic tests and assist in costs for small projects needed to achieve verification.

If a test is needed after going through an assessment with Erez, the Cass County MAEAP Technician, he will collect your soil or water samples and send or deliver them directly to the testing group of your choice. If a spill kit, backflow preventer or drain plugs are needed, Erez can help with them as well. Other small projects needed when pursuing MAEAP verification that could be completed with financial assistance can be discussed with Erez for possible funding support. MAEAP is designed to add convenience and pride to your farm – it is hoped adding this program will make you even more excited about achieving your verification in 2018! For specific guidelines and cost share details, feel free to stop in to the Cass County Conservation District office at 1127 East State Street in Cassopolis, MI. Feel free to call or email Erez at the office, at 269-228-7084 or at [email protected]. We hope to either begin, or continue working with you in pursuing your verification!

New Invasive Species Threatening Michigan: Japanese Stiltgrass

Though Japanese stiltgrass has been threatening forests and wildflowers in the southeast and Midwest for years, it has only been found in Michigan for the first time this fall. One of these patches is here in southwest Michigan, near the city of Niles.

Japanese stiltgrass, which was accidentally introduced when used as packing material, can grow quickly and densely, degrading forests. “Stiltgrass can smother and outcompete native wildflowers, forbs, and grasses,” says Eleanor Serocki, Coordinator for the SWxSW Corner Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area, “it’s been a major problem in other areas, so we have to work quickly to ensure it doesn’t become one here.”

The trick to managing any invasive species is to locate it early, before it can become established, especially since the seeds of stiltgrass can remain in the soil for up to 10 years. Because of this, the CISMA and the DNR are hoping citizens will keep an eye out on trails and roads, and during yard clean-up this fall. Stiltgrass looks almost like delicate bamboo, growing low (1-3ft) to the ground, with tapering leaves which have a distinctive silver midrib. It grows especially well in disturbed areas, roadsides, and wet forests.

If you think you have seen Japanese Stiltgrass, or if you have any other questions, please contact Eleanor Serocki at the CISMA at 269-657-4030×5 or [email protected]. More information on Japanese stiltgrass are also available at michigan.gov/invasives or misin.msu.edu.

The Southwest X Southwest Corner Collaborative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) is a grant funded program to manage invasive species in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties. With funding from the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program, the CISMA aims to help landowners and stakeholders in the Southwest Michigan area manage invasive species. If you have any questions on Invasive species, please contact the CISMA at (269)-657-4030 or email photos and address or latitude/longitude to: [email protected].

Photos Via Michigan DNR